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Oregon agriculture savors urban culinary opportunities
8/7/2013

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Oregon agriculture is increasingly showing up as part of the urban culinary scene. The latest example is The Bite of Oregon, a food festival attracting tens of thousands in downtown Portland:


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With each food festival or event, it’s an occasion for Oregon agriculture to connect with a relatively large urban audience and create awareness. Oregon Department of Agriculture Marketing Director Gary Roth says The Bite of Oregon is a unique venue:

ROTH:  “You have a very and diverse celebration going on right in the heart of Oregon’s largest urban center. The opportunity for Oregon agriculture to be present and tell its story to the many people who come through The Bite during its duration is a huge opportunity.”  :18



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Whether it’s through farmers’ markets or these types of urban culinary events, farmers and ranchers are responding to increased interest by consumers in where their food comes from and how it is grown. This year at something called the Oregon Bounty Chef’s Table, food representing five agricultural commodity commissions is prepared and offered in bite-size portions:

ROTH:  “These are very sophisticated growers and producers that are running these commissions. For them to make a decision to be at The Bite speaks to the validity of the event, and for them to come together and be coordinated in a way that they can create a more substantial footprint rather than just an individual one, product by product, is a good thing for our industry as well.”  :19



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The spotlight is on local beef, berries, and seafood as chefs whip up some very interesting tastes. From chicken skewers with an Oregon blueberry salsa to a Pinot noir-glazed tri-tip, it’s all part of showcasing the great tastes of Oregon agriculture. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.



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ROTH says Oregon food products featured at The Bite are prepared in very creative ways by participating chefs:

“I think showing the ways in which Oregon food can be consumed in different forms is always good. It doesn’t always have to be a center of the plate item or something that you eat whole in and of itself, such as a pear or blueberry.”  :15



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ROTH says Oregon agriculture tries to take advantage of a number of culinary events in urban centers around the state to tell it’s story:

“The Bite is just another opportunity that is well advertised, that people come to enjoy food and enjoy being outside. This provides us an opportunity to educate those eaters about Oregon food– where it comes from, how it’s produced, and why we think it’s so great.”  :16



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